The best fitness games on the market

Which game to choose to complement your workout?

The Nintendo Wii introduced an entirely new concept to gaming – the fitness game. By putting control of the console literally into the hands of the player, the Wii achieved a synthesis of gaming and exercise and simultaneously got swathes of people off their sofas/couches and into a new kind of gaming. In 2010 Nintendo’s rivals joined the party with Xbox Kinect and Playstation Move to kick off yet another gaming arms race. We’ve given you our low-down on the merits of the three systems and now here is the guide to the current best fitness games available to help you in your decision of which system to buy.

Nintendo Wii

WiiSports Resort

Despite being an older title, Wii sports Resort is a really, really fun game that offers a heap more do to than its various sport based predecessors. You have a choice between 12 sports with frisbee, swordplay and flying notable highlights. All the modes have levels of difficulty and challenges to unlock and you will find that you get addicted to bettering your best scores and times as you hone you skills in each discipline. Another huge plus is that resort is so much more responsive and intuitive than other Wii sports titles. You feel a much greater level of control which makes the game more engaging to play. There are still limits to the tech but most modes are very polished.

The only real draw back with Sports Resort is that, from a fitness perspective it doesn’t offer a lot. Although it will offer you an active form of gaming and definitely will get your heart rate up it will take a lot to milk the game for any real fitness benefits. Still, if you are looking for a fun way to get you and the kids of the couch this is the game for you.

Our score: 7/10

Wii Fit

The epitome of the motion tech fitness game. Wii fit is a package which offers players a very sound way to make and carry out a fitness plan. The premise is simple: through balance and pressure sensors the Wii fit board can recognise your movements and chart their physical impact. It’s a premise which works and allows you to do a variety of exercises from which you will see genuine benefits.

The only real problem with Wii fit is that it feels a bit unfocused at the start. You’ll chart your BMI and get into the game quickly and the ease of being able to set goals and get started is a definite strength but the lack of direction in the early stages can be a bit confusing. After a few sessions the game will start to chart your progress and give you feed back and everything will begin to make sense!

The game is very polished and will gradually push you into harder un-lockable features the more you play. As a fitness game it’s up there among the best.

Our score: 8/10

Microsoft Xbox Kinect

Kinect sports

Microsoft’s answer to or eh-hem rip-off of the Wii Sports franchise. This game is a good way to get an approximation of Kinect’s capabilities and uses the 3D area Kinect gives you to play in very well. This means that you can make full use of your legs, without needing to stand on a little plastic board, as Kinect tracks you around its active area.

Some of the mini games are a little weak, bowling for example is not a strong point. Others which make use of your legs more and require practise to hone technique, work really well. Unlike some of the older Wii games you won’t be aimlessly flapping around and hoping for the best, Kinect requires you to quite realistically mimic actual movement.

The box has warning that reads “Very Active”, ignore this if you’re a fairly active person. Kinect Sports will get your heart rate up and if you play intensely you’ll definitely be sweating but it is not a pure fitness game. It is however, very good fun! 

Our score: 7/10

Dance Central

If you’re looking for way to have fun and get some exercise then look no further than Dance Central. This game is an extremely good demonstration of what Kinect is capable of. With an extensive mix of modern dance tracks and classics the game gets you up and busting moves along to the songs. To keep up with the tempo and progress in the game you will have to move quickly and use your whole body to emulate the moves you see on screen. The game has various tools to aid you in pursuit of fitness including a work out mode and a calorie counter.

On top of this if you have the confidence (or enough intoxicants have been provided) to get this game going at a party it will provide you with a lot of laughs.

Our score: 9/10

EA sports active 2

This is the better of two purely fitness orientated programmes available for Kinect, I say programme because this is not a game. There is one aim here and it’s not having fun! Offering you a pretty comprehensive list of exercises that work your whole body this game is close to complete a fitness package. It tracks your progress like Wii fit and the exercises all work the areas they promise to.

Be warned you will need a lot of space to use this ... programme properly but if you have a large enough living room and the patients for the sometimes annoying menus the game will give you a useful alternative to a class at your local gym.

Our Score: 8/10

WARNING dud alert

One game to steer clear of is Ubisoft’s entry into the world of fitness gaming Motion Sports. The game is a mess. It’s clunky and hard to control; in fact it often doesn’t work at all.

This has plenty of sports mini games including soccer, American football, horse riding, hang gliding and boxing. Sadly none of them are very good. Playing it I found that only the hang gliding was even slightly fun and even then it was unresponsive. The other games were at best comically insensitive and at worst down right infuriating. Two particularly frustrating moments were the game being unable to recognise left footers for soccer and the boxing game recognising maybe one punch in twenty. Steer well clear!

We know we said this was a best of guide but we couldn’t let this game sully your opinions of Kinect.

Our score: 3/10

Sony Playstation Move

The Fight

As a game the fight is the best looking of any fitness game out there. It’s also very different. It combines brutal UFC style boxing and gory graphics with a fitness game that measures your output and counts the calories you burn.

The Fight is definitely not one for the kids. Using two controllers to accurately track both your fists, the game is a serious fighting simulation in which you pummel your way to glory across several different dingy venues. It’s great fun and addictive. You will enjoy battering your virtual opponents whether you like to admit it or not and you will break a sweat and get a decent boxing style work out for your pecks, delts, lats and all of your upper body.  

As a downside the game can be fiddly and will often need re-calibrating (involving testing the position of the remote with the camera) which can be annoying. The presentation is bit sloppy at times as well.

Our score: 7/10

Sports Champion

Another console another sports mini-game collection. This game is again very good fun but it is clearly designed to showcase the Move’s capabilities rather than as a proper fitness game.  The game, like its Kinect brother feels like an updated Wii sports with different mini-games but without the advantage of full body movement. You control proceedings by swinging and waving your arms to appropriately imitate real life techniques and though the hardware makes this a rewarding experience it’s not particularly inventive or physically taxing. Some of the mini games are fun and work well − archery is great and combat is very fun if you have a competitive edge − but the game is not a good substitute for a work out.

Our score: 6/10

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